Newark, N.J. — Unfortunately, Nico Hischier can’t catch a break. The New Jersey Devils captain suffered an upper-body injury against the New York Islanders last Friday. However, after two days off from game action, Hischier was able to play in New Jersey’s following game. Friday night against the Buffalo Sabres, Connor Clifton caught the Devils captain with a big hit in the first period. As a result, it appears Hischier is questionable following an undisclosed injury.
While handling the puck in the neutral zone, Clifton caught Hischier while he wasn’t looking. It was evident that Clifton’s elbow certainly came in contact with Hischier’s head on the collision. As a result, Clifton received a match penalty and was thrown from the game. Hischier in fact headed to the locker room himself to get checked out, however, made a delayed return in the second period.
Connor Clifton receives a match penalty for this hit to the head on Nico Hischier. pic.twitter.com/Zu06XHvMi1
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 27, 2023
Hischier took a couple of shifts for the Devils in the middle frame. Unfortunately, the Devils captain made his way back down the tunnel before the final buzzer of the second period and did not return thereafter.
Following the Devils’ 5-4 victory, Lindy Ruff claimed holding Hischier out was precautionary.
“We just held him out, precautionary,” Ruff explained. “We’ll see how he’s doing tomorrow.”
Erik Haula, Friday night’s hero in the Devils victory, was less than optimistic about Hischier’s status.
“I don’t like that hit,” Haula said wistfully. “I just hope he has a fast recovery. Everyone can see it caught him pretty good. I was shocked he even came back. He’ll get some rest now and hopefully, he has a fast recovery. We’ll need him.”
Ondrej Palat immediately came to the aid of the Devils captain, challenging Clifton in fisticuffs.
“No questions asked, that’s what you do,” Haula continued. “Nico for sure, no matter who it is. A hit like that, that’s just how it goes.”
Michael McLeod strongly agreed.
“I love that for Pally,” McLeod said. “I think that’s a great message to send to the other team. You can’t hit our guys like that, especially the captain.”
For now, we wait and see the status of Hischier. Fans of New Jersey will have to hold their breath in regard to the Devils captain once again. Clifton will have a hearing on Saturday with the Department of Player Safety as a result of his hit.